Edward P. Meadors has written an interesting book, Idolatry and the Hardening of the Heart, with an intriguing thesis. He states that it is a biblical axiom that worshipers become like that which they worship. More to the point he flat out states that “Idolaters, those who worship created things, suffer hardening and sensory depletion as they assimilate to the inanimate objects of their faith. Accordingly, as idols have eyes, ears, noses, and mouths but cannot see, hear, smell, and speak, so too do idolaters lose their sensory faculties as they conform to inanimate objects”. ~ Pg. 2
He then quotes two passages from the Bible:
1) Psalm 115:4-8
4 But their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men.
5 They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see;
6 they have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but they cannot smell;
7 they have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but they cannot walk;
nor can they utter a sound with their throats.
8 Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.
. . . and . . .
2) Psalm 135:15-18
15 The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by the hands of men.
16 They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see;
17 they have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths.
18 Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.
What I have difficulty with is the “sensory depletion” comment. I think that this is true for certain situations (e.g. worshiping a remote transcendent detached god (e.g. brahman) and becoming a sanyasin who is detached from society), but I do not see it for normal idol worship. Now I have observed peoples hearts get hardened towards Jesus Christ subsequent upon worship the idol, but that is a spiritual hardening, not a sensory depletion.
I think this is talking about spiritual hardening phenomena more so than the loss of sensory faculties.
“As has just been said: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts …'” ~ Hebrews 3:15